Visiting the Robinson family burial grounds

The kids and I decided to squeeze a little summer out of our last full Saturday together before school starts by visiting the Native American burial grounds about two miles from the house where I grew up.

Wolf and Heath on the east shore of the Des Plaines River.

The Robinson family burial grounds, which are said to be haunted, are part of the Cook County Forest Preserve, accessible just off the southwest corner of Lawrence Avenue and East River Road in Norridge, Illinois. Alexander Robinson, who was also known as Chee-chee-pin-quay (or ‘Blinking Eyes’), a chief of the Pottawotami, Chippewa, and Ottawa nations, was granted a large tract of land along the Des Plaines River on July 29, 1829 by the treaty of Prairie du Chein for helping the families of John Kinzie and Nathan Heald during the Fort Dearborn Massacre.

The final resting place of the Robinson family, located southwest of Lawrence Avenue and East River Road in Norridge, Illinois.

Robinson’s descendants lived peacefully on the land until their farm building burnt to the ground on May 26, 1955. No one was hurt. Firefighters rescued Robinson’s 89-year-old granddaughter, Katherine Boettcher, her son, Herbert, and his friend, Tony Bistry. But less than five months later, three boys weren’t so lucky.

On October 16th, the bodies of three murdered boys–John and Anton Schuessler and Robert Peterson, all aged between eleven and fourteen–were found in a ditch in Robinson Woods. The murder was unsolved for 39 years, when Kenneth Hansen was finally arrested, charged, tried and convicted of killing the three boys. But it was shortly after their deaths that people started reporting strange phenomena in the area, notably the sound of Native American toms, and the smell of lilac suspended over the burial spot, even in the dead of winter.

Heath, 6, doesn’t smell anything funny except Dad (photo courtesy of Wolf Larsen, 8).

Neither the boys nor I heard or smelled anything bizarre, but we did get to see a deer up close and personal.

Heath (left), deer (center), Wolf (right).

We also saw a hermit crab and a tadpole near this zombie retention grate, but booked out of there pretty quick when we thought we heard groans echoing from the shadows.

I know there’s zombies in there. It smelled like zombies. And yes, those are cobwebs.

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